Belgium's Gaming Commission Is Investigating Star Wars: Battlefront II, Overwatch
Belgium’s Gaming Commission that’s responsible for regulating gambling within the country has [...]
Belgium's Gaming Commission that's responsible for regulating gambling within the country has begun an investigation into the loot boxes found in games like Star Wars: Battlefront II and Overwatch to determine whether any action needs to be taken.
The commission is investigating Star Wars: Battlefront II (via PCGamesN) and other games' various economic systems. Battlefront II has made headlines recently for all the wrong reasons thanks to a stingy unlock system and pay-to-win features. Loot boxes have also taken quite a bit of heat in not only Battlefront II but other games as well, and that's precisely the area that the Gaming Commission will be digging into.
The purpose of the investigation is to determine whether loot boxes can be considered gambling or not, a question that's been posed to other organizations such as the ESRB and the UK's government. If it's determined that they do qualify as a gambling mechanism, that'll mean bad news for any game that tries to incorporate a version of the loot boxes that proves to be problematic.
According to the commission's director, Peter Naessens, the random aspect of the games and how it plays into your chances of winning or performing better within the game will be the determining factor of whether they'll consider it gambling or not.
"If there is a game of chance, it is not possible without a permit from the Gaming Commission," said Naessens."
The gambling label that would be applied to certain games if the investigation finds enough evidence to support the claim wouldn't just pose problems for future games' income strategies, it could also severely hurt those that are already on the market. From the original article that was cited, it claims that being labeled with gambling components could result in publishers like EA being required to pay "hundreds of thousands of euros" or else have their games pulled from retailers' shelves.
Overwatch is another game that is also being invested by Belgium's Gaming Commission, but it's unlikely that they'll be slapped with a gambling tag as well. They loot boxes in Blizzard's game are only filled with cosmetics that don't affect gameplay, but Battlefront II might not have as much luck.